The most obvious way is to keep track of the breeding date. The tricky part is when you have more than one breeding to track. For example, if you breed your goat around October 20 and she comes back into heat a couple weeks later you want to track both breedings, even if you are positive that she’ll be kidding according to the second breeding.
The surest way to tell is to watch the goat’s ligaments. If you are fortunate enough to have a goat-obsessed teenage daughter, she will watch the ligaments like a hawk for several weeks, the only drawback to this is she may drive you crazy by announcing that the goats are about to kid ‘any day now’ for at least three weeks.
When the doe’s tail goes over to the side we know that kidding is hours or minutes away.
When Tuppence was due to kid around March 12 (second breeding) we were a little surprised (annoyed) to see her tail over on the late, frigid evening of Feb. 22 (first breeding). I confess to denial- the whimpering “this can’t be happening on this freezing cold night in February”- type of denial. We put the baby monitor in the barn and headed off for bed, or at least for a barn noises ‘sleepover’ in the girls room. We never even got to sleep before it was time to head back out again.
The baby was a decent sized boy, and he was the only baby in there, much to our surprise.
The baby came out frontward!!!
You have no idea how happy that makes me. Almost all of last year’s babies were backwards or worse. We made sure that they got more exercise this year.
Exercise is important for pregnant goats.
Tuppence tried to climb the wall and sit in my lap while she was in labor. Both of which were new ones on me.
The baby was born just a couple minutes after midnight. Since it was her goat, Abigail got the honors of getting up to feed the baby again in 3 hours.
If they’re born earlier in the day and are healthy I usually let them go eight hours overnight, but we try to get several feedings around four-six hours apart until we’re positive that they’re eating well.
The next morning brought more excitement. By mid morning Missus G’s tail was over and her ligaments were gone. Thankfully we had a lot of bath towels this year. Missus G kidded about 12:00 noon, which was 12 hours after Tuppence kidded and 2 weeks earlier than anticipated. All of Missus G’s babies came out frontwards as well. One had a hoof back, but that was easily fixable. She had two does and a buck, which makes my ratios 50% this year.
Last year it felt like we waited and waited and waited; this year we didn’t wait at all, but, dang, was it cold.